Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I love how courageous I am!!!!

Moving right along toward my vegan chef/entrepreneur dream...and it's amazing how much support I'm getting and opportunities are presenting themselves in just 48 hours, as I do the foot-work of course. This week, I'm dropping off resumes at businesses I want to work in, thus learn from. AND here's the biggie...I may have full funding for the culinary program I want to start next month!!!! Fingers crossed!!! Holding the vision!!! Seeing myself succeed!!! In service to the health and wellness of all!

So, the other day, I was complaining and speaking negatively about having to go back to therapy school, before I dropped out, and that friend said, Laura, be careful because words have power...

So TRUE!!! I am extra aware of that now, and it's interesting because, for so long, I just tried to suck it up and not speak negatively, except in my journal, about the edu path I was on...and just stay positive and power through and do something I didn't want to do and tell myself all kinds of stories to keep myself motivated and..........

But when, I finally paid attention to my language, the private language in my head, heart and journal entries, and to my hesitation, and paying attention to the story about me being a drop out loser who will never accomplish anything, and started saying it and my dislikes about the life I'm living and work I'm doing, out loud, even though it was negative and not blissful and spiritual or whatever...then everything changed.  Sure, that's scary!  To admit to myself I don't want to be a therapist, or a teacher, or a social worker...that I don't want to work with kids, or humans, too closely and on a daily basis...was really hard.  I've been forcing myself to do this work for years now because I thought these were my only options.  Guess what, they aren't!!!!

My vocational dream timeline:  
  • start the Rouxbe on-line plant-based professional chef program 10/17 and have my certification complete within the 6 month period they allot 
  • at the same time, be working in the Vegan Bakery and Catering department at La Montanita Coop, or in the kitchen at Verde raw vegan kitchen, or BOTH at different times would be great, or at Body, or in some other businesses which I have rated in order from most desired and in alignment with my goals to the least
  • so then I'm getting on the job training and getting paid, so I have a home to live in, etc...
  • be researching other work opportunities within different plant-based nutrition organizations like Food For Life 
  • be researching animal sanctuaries, non-profits, how to support the animals with a farm-to-table cafe, how to set up a space for the animals to live, property stuff, where do the animals come from...possible therapeutic opportunities involving collaborating with the animals, if they and I even want to do that, of course, and certification processes involved in that
  • be researching gardening and how to manage a really big one to support the cafe
  • "                    " and developing business plans, menus, financials
  • where do I want this cafe and sanctuary to be??? can I afford that? what's the weather like there, is it conducive to raising animals and a prosperous garden???
  • who is going to be on my team?
  • eventually have all of this up and running...probably other steps between research and that but this is the idea and a good start

Anyway, I am just glad I have the courage to follow my heart and pursue my dreams...and listen to and voice my negative as well as positive language, in order to be truly honest and real with myself and the Multiverse.  I don't have to grin and bear it...I don't have to take one for the team...

I'll truly be able to serve the highest good doing what I want and love to do...just watching my world shift in the last 48 hours is an affirmation and indicator that I am right on track!!! A courageous winner willing to take risks and appropriate right action! not a loser/quitter!!!! 



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Grad school drop-out (at least for now)...I'm out!!!

After a long and careful deliberation, and integrating all that has happened over the last year (and more than the last year) in my studies and life, I know that I do not want to be a therapist. It’s been hard to admit that to myself and now that I have, I feel so relieved. I have a clear vision of the work I want to do and directions I wish to follow and it involves A LOT less work with humans and academia and more work with Nature, non-human Animals, the plant-based, vegan, sustainable agriculture movement and entrepreneurship within that movement, as well as my own individual work in the arts which will likely involve collaborative healing work.
If it turns out I have made the worst mistake of my life, I can always re-apply and finish up my degree. I am not worried about it. I know and trust myself and listen deeply to The Winds of change when they cause my sails to shift directions. It may seem flighty, and it truly is, and The Winds of my intuition have never steered me the wrong way yet. Onward!  Following my heart and my dreams! 

Dear Multiverse:

I hope you are well!  Hope your summer, now turning to golden Fall, is lovely!  Autumn is my most beloved season.

So, I don’t know if you identify as an introvert or not...but I need your help figuring stuff out.  Of course, we know that being an introvert doesn’t always mean being a shy or reserved person.  We know that introversion is actually a brain processing phenomenon.  I am an introvert, although I am not reserved; I always have been but have been learning how to self-identify over the last few years. I remember and recount my childhood sensitivities...there wasn't one adult around who could relate to me and reach me as I needed to be reached, nurtured, and gently guided so I could really tap into my great potential and talents...and I'm still playing catch up as a result of such blind neglect. So, like any kid would, I felt I was an outsider and have been trying not to be one my whole life!  Hey world, I'm not an alien, I'm an introvert! And I'm an introvert with different value systems than other dominant cultures, ie, veganism.  I've thought there was something wrong with me, have wondered about all kinds of "disorders" and have tried to understand why I don't and usually don't want to fit in with others, and why navigating relationships can be so difficult and tiring.  I've tried doing the opposite of what is comfortable, questioning and even going against my values so I can try to coalesce with others and group norms.  It never works and it never lasts. Believe me, I really have tried to be a team player and team builder too!  In fact, I've put lots of training hours into it.  I have also humbly reached out for help from mentors and counselors and I think that I have not received the help I need is because I live in a world of extroverts.  Seriously, extroverts run the show and are the majority.  And we live in a world that rewards extroverts.  Moreover, extroverts, even extroverted mental health and other types of "helping" professionals do not really understand introverts, therefore introverts are mislabeled, misunderstood and misguided, among other things.  A friend wrote: it is typical that non-dominant cultures understand the nuances of dominant cultures, but is rarely the other way around. Indeed! This simple statement if mindfully acted on could be the root to solutions for conflict across the board. 

Anyway, I wanted to request a heart-to-heart with you and to learn a bit about your practice in the therapy field and professional life in general.  You seem like a high and healthy functioning adult, so naturally, I'm drawn to knowing how you survive and thrive as a professional in this world.  

Here's a brief synopsis of my, uh...situation:

Long story short; I am having a really hard time finding a professional avenue that I like and want to travel.  As much as I have a heart to serve others, I really don't like people that much, which sounds awful, but I mean...what I mean is that I feel exhausted by people and I prefer to be alone and to limit my time with most people to very short, manageable increments.  Moreover, I am feeling, and have over this last year at SWC felt, like I don't want to be surrounded with people's problems...which is a tough one since, as I said, I have a heart to serve using the arts.  The thing is, I really need a profession where I get to be creative and helpful in my community and the world and not struggle financially all the time.  

Here's another example that I am waking up to:  I recently got a job working with youth in an empowerment-based feminist program, which is awesome in theory, and I really don't like kids, or humans too much, as I already mentioned.  I don't understand this...how do I feel a desire to serve and work with folks and not like them...and want nothing to do with them...???  This is really perplexing.  I mean, I deeply love these children, they're beautiful, and I even sometimes enjoy them, but they are loud, rude, self-absorbed, mean at times, and I have to raise my voice and be someone I'm not with them just to get them to settle for 10 seconds and then they're at it again...I hate this work. Kids scare me and I feel a range of hope and fear for the world when I engage with them and watch them develop little by little into adults.  I'm a little shocked by my misanthropic feelings but it does not serve me or anyone else to suppress them any longer.  So, people and social engagements to an extent are...uh, tough...for me...and I try to avoid them.  There are moments that feel good and like working with youth/humans is something I want to do but in general not so much and I feel tired and annoyed and need to be alone to get back to equilibrium. And I have tried soooooo hard to mold myself into being someone else, someone who loves these types of interactions.  I'm not that girl. 

It's important to note that I keep trying to shift this part of myself, as if I can wave a magic wand and be someone else with different needs and feelings.  Living in an extroverted world has conditioned me to believe that I'm wrong, aloof, snotty, for being introverted; that I need to be/do more this or that; that I need to be an activist in certain socially engaging ways in order to take responsibility for "being the change" and I think there's a lot of truth to that; that in order to be kind I must be available to help and show up at all times; that I need to be able to handle all the intensity and drama and chaos within interpersonal settings; that as a woman I should want to have a family; that as a human I should want lots of friends around; and I'm FINALLY starting to understand that I AM FINE and healthy and stable the way I am.  I do not need to change this part of myself and I cannot change it. Trying to shove my curvy self into a square hole is not working. Instead, I want to and must leverage this awareness and find solutions for myself so I can get my needs met and live happily. I keep thinking, oh, this new work gig is cool, I can do this, or, maybe I'll like that job and can excel...and I'm actually dying inside while I lie to myself.  This is unsustainable and at times, downright miserable on an existential level.  I refuse to live this way.  

So, I thought I wanted to work with kids and groups, and maybe adults are better (but adults are often way worse than kids in lots of ways...and adult bad behavior is horrible to put up with as well…) so, I'm at a loss.  Working with individual humans seems doable and could be great but I have little experience with that. Perhaps Spring practicum can help me figure out if I like that? Right now, I feel like I want to drop out of therapy school (and I'm not going to because that would be incredibly stupid as I'm sure I can work these skills and credentials into a workable professional practice somehow) and become a chef/artist.  I see myself with a bright and open studio art space, where I work alone besides when I invite someone like a client in or a colleague to collaborate with, with a commercial kitchen to bake bread and make the vegan food I love and want to serve, and a place for yoga, dance, meditation, and an outdoor space for connection with animals and gardening…stuff like that.  I truly am a sensitive artist type, like for real.  The older I get, the less flexible I am about not getting my introverted needs met.  I'm actually slightly indignant and am becoming unwilling to compromise certain things. I like quiet...spaciousness...creativity, music, cooking, animals, plants, nature...and a very few, select humans.  I dislike having to answer to people and shape my life around the agendas of other folks, which may sound uncooperative, and maybe it is, but I've been cooperating for so long! It's time I have the courage to really live authentically and to shape my studies and professional life around that.

Can you offer me direction, please? Maybe the “helping” profession isn’t for me?  Maybe I can do other things and still be a self-identified altruist, but a less social one?

Thank you so much for your consideration and insights!!!

Sincerely,

Laura Murphy

P.S. Even as I write this, or just a few minutes after, I feel compelled to minimize and backtrack and explain myself...like, actually, I am a nice person, I love people, I care about their struggles, etc, etc, etc, and all of that is true.  And, for the sake of simply honoring my truth and feelings that I have pushed away for so long, it's important that I just say all of this. I'm tired of pretending.  Now, I get to take this knowledge, explore it, and allow my awareness to propel me into appropriate right action that will take me where I wish to go.  I know that switching gears if need be, and or simply fine tuning my current plan, and taking a path that I feel truly inspired to take, will in the long-run help me to be of greater service to myself and others.  Now it's time to research jobs I might like, for instance, forestry, being a chef, perhaps being a therapist with a private practice on the side of other jobs....light house operator...being the person who makes hiking trails...working with animals...having my own art studio, a good one too...

 Also, it's interesting because I love huge cities...probably because I can blend right into the crowd, hide out in museums, get lost in the library and on city streets, meditate on the subway, etc.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Calling IN, not calling out

RE: current political/social climates/conflicts et al...
I read about a communication/advocacy/activist strategy recently that caught my attention: "calling IN, not calling out."

At first it seems subtle, but the more I ponder it, it's a remarkably powerful and right action oriented shift that takes a whole 'lotta skill, care, self-awareness and self-regulation. Just noting the self-mastery this skill takes hints at why so many conveniently use the calling out method instead. Going against the streams of convenience and conditioning takes a lot of effort and that effort is worth more than we might be able to imagine.

Anyway, calling IN rather than calling out feels much more spacious and fluid to me. It creates a place for shifting, exploration, pivot zones, dancing of seemingly opposite forces, and coalescence of seemingly polar interests, needs and values. Calling IN could allow for messages to be heard more effectively, for positions to be stated with intention assertively in integrity without striking blows and destroying progress that is made, and for hearts to soften and open, even just to be more transparent about the fears, anger, hurt, vulnerability, victimization, etc, one or a group feels.


When I think about calling in as oppose to calling out, it's like, I can breathe easier. Even as I sit here writing about it. I feel a shift in my body toward relaxation. I imagine more possibilities and solutions and open space for them to develop. I hope we can take time to listen and get to know each other, even if we completely disagree, and learn to use this style of communication and practice more non-violence in our lives.

p.s. I'm trying to remember where I read this so I unfortunately can't cite who said it or where I found it.  I'll dig around in my brain and report back with sources. I just think this concept is brilliant!!! I want to know more.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday morning white privilege

….so heart breaking...sickening and depressing….white privilege is one of the worst cases of tunnel vision out there, and because of our whiteness, we have it, I have it... period. It’s very important to get real with and sit with the disgust that arises, at least that's what I feel. we white folks can and must work on being more aware, loving, and active change- and peacemakers—especially in educating other white folks about these issues—but we can never fully understand what People of Color have gone and go through because of racism and historic trauma.
white privilege can be a tough concept for many white folks to wrap their heads around. And it’s tough for me to understand how it’s tough for white folks to get it, but that’s a crux in this horrific situation that continually perpetuates greed, fear, lack, hate, and more. The longer it takes for white folks to get it, the longer this nightmare will drag out. however, with a willingness to humble one's self, which includes learning new ideas, laying down the need to be right and to make others wrong, laying down tired victim stories that aren’t inclusive and sensitive to the experiences and victimization others deal with every single day, and trying to look at the world through different cultural lenses, it can be done and a river of compassion and insight can wash over that willing human. it's the graceful, righteous cleansing our nation and world need.

a lot of white folks’ language around multicultural issues and current events come across as brash, disrespectful and demeaning of People of Color’s experiences, valid fears, anger and anxiety... IF white people would rather not set themselves up to look like uneducated, hateful bigots, and if they want to venture even further and create solution, cohesion and peace in the world, they may want to consider using their language and privileges in ways that empower people, heal, and help to eradicate hatred, rather than fuel fires. words have power. I urge you to tap into the inherent love that is in you and that you are, and choose wisely.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Double Rainbow!

I saw a double rainbow today on my drive home from my first day of my new awesome job with the youngest feminists in Santa Fe!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99E9fDgZZuE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI

and after getting to hang out with one girl singing this song very boldly on repeat!  I'm surrounded by little sparkly lions, tigers and unicorns at my new job and I love it!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8

and to top it all off, I decided to make pancakes for dinner, because I can, and one came out in the shape of a heart without me even trying...

some days are just wonderful!!!




Pancakes!!! Hooray!!!

It turns out I'm pleased with my runny vegan yogurt because I used it in place of the almond milk in this recipe for vegan fluffy pancakes.  I also added 1/4 tsp. ginger and 1/8 tsp's. cinnamon and nutmeg, with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.  So delicious!  And very low-fat and lite, especially if you use a nonstick pan.  I really like this recipe and am excited to try her flour-less pumpkin pancakes.  I'm super-fueled for my first day of work at Girls Inc!  Feel like I could run for miles on that breakfast! I'll save that for after work.




P.S. would be interesting to play with this recipe, substituting chick pea flour and hashed potatoes to make potato pancakes with apple sauce!  

I am soooooooo glad I got over that keto nonsense and am back to nutrition that feels authentic, sustainable and energizing.  I'm almost embarrassed that I fell for the high-fat bullshit fad!  I respect if that works for some folks but is it all wrong for me and my awesomeness!  Plus, I am interested in being a protector of Life, animals, the Earth, myself, and a promoter of wellness.  Wholefoods and plant-based is the right way for me.




Saturday, August 26, 2017

RE: using violence (reacting in ways that mirror how haters behave for the sake of justice and giving them a taste of what they dish out) to deal with nazis/white supremacists and any other hateful opponent....this is the same tired retributive justice model that doesn't work.Over and over we've seen throughout history that fighting back and punishment methods don't produce the outcomes of peace and equality, outcomes I believe most people and societies want.

I understand that self-defense is whole other complex issue, and I do not criticize folks for protecting themselves...and retaliating in rage only fuels the fire. It's like the war machine and what John Lennon said. Using the same destructive weapons and fighting back can never beat the powers that be at war...they have mastered that strategy, clearly. Use strategies to counter the hate, domination, killing, etc, with weapons they do not understand. Weapons of love and right action we have cultivated in ourselves and learned to master.  This creates culture and conditions ripe for perpetual, lasting change. I believe this is the only way and it's a long and arduous path. And I check my white privileges even as I write my humble opinions, as I haven't experienced oppression like so many have. I acknowledge I might feel differently if circumstances in my life were different.


I hear you, and your anger is precious and righteous, feel it and honor it and study the roots of that anger, but I think the opposite. We have to organize, rein in and channel the rage skillfully, and not allow ourselves, our thinking, feeling and doing, to get clouded and poisoned as theirs is. Love is power and I believe the only way to co-create a strategic, positive peace that solves problems and eradicates hate for good. Violence isn't the answer and at best creates a negative peace which perpetuates more conflict at some point down the line. We have to be healers and heal the disease.

"A movement begins when the oppressed begin seeing themselves as pioneers in creating new, more human relations and thus advancing the evolution of the human race.
Confident of their own humanity, movement builders are able to recognize the humanity in others, including their opponents, and therefore the potential within them for redemption.
The methods we use in our struggles are transforming ourselves as well as our opponents into 'more human' human beings."


Grace Lee Boggs


And I've seen the argument, and it's a valid one, regarding Nazi Germany and fascism through Europe and the world.  What would have happened if the Allied Powers of WW2 wouldn't have dropped atomic bombs, completely annihilated the Axis Powers?  Was that the only way?  We know the atrocities of the Holocaust  had to be ended.  That said, many people feel that final act of annihilation by the Allied Powers was necessary.  I understand why people feel that way and I wonder what else could have been done.  Was such an extreme act of violence truly the only way? We know that current acts of terrorism and threats of nuclear war have to be dealt with, but how?  Is having stronger armies and farther reaching missiles the solution?  I doubt it. My feeling is that even WW2 and the horrors that took place, could have been prevented somehow in various ways.

All of these wars and Holocausts are about economy, borders, domination of natural resources, and how the 1% who are also the masters of war opt to maintain power over the world--seeing the rest of life as expendable, objects of collateral damage.  How do we stop that axis of evil and wars which shapeshift over time and are all connected?  This is the root of oppression which links all people;
white supremacists and People of Color.

If you study the roots of white supremacist hate, you learn that's economic.  White supremacists live in fear that they will live in poverty, that Jews or People of Color, or anyone that isn't white, will take from them what they believe is theirs. Hitler used this strategy to convince Germans that Jews were to blame for the poverty of their nation. Such utter confusion, delusion, blaming and fear of poverty or perceived lack, is the root problem.  The 1% and masters of war are magicians at engineering social conflicts among the masses in order to keep them distracted, miseducated and fighting.  We need to get very clear on this terrifying and demented reality, and get very creative as we implement alternatives to conflict.  I believe this is the real force of evil that is the root cause of every major conflict.  Racism is actually an economic class issue, which is founded on fear and perceived fear of poverty.  It is a construct designed and set up by social engineers to keep lower classes fighting while they strategically take control of everything.  Every human, rock/mineral, tree, animal, drop of water...everything.  I say this because those who choose to retaliate violently to social conflict like white supremacy, fascism, entities of hate that obviously have to be uprooted and healed, are falling into the trap.  We must not be fooled and must instead cultivate wisdom and clarity around these issues.

So, fear of not having, even in a world as abundant as Earth.  It's ludicrous!  And the way WW2 ended is deemed by many as just.  Even peace advocates feel this way.  Many believe the bombing had to happen in order to stop the Axis Powers.  But couldn't there have been other ways to deal with these problems, other than bombing the hell out of everyone?  I just can't believe that there were no other solutions and preventive strategies other than violence.  And I can't believe that there aren't other ways to deal with ISIS, terrorism, white supremacy and fascism now either.  I don't attempt to claim that I understand the complexities of all of these historic or current events, I just refuse to be indoctrinated with black and white, either/or, side-taking, stories about the way things are and how peace can or cannot be achieved.  I refuse to believe that it is impossible to construct and negotiate a positive peace, but I do believe that is the much, much, much harder way to go about problem solving.  But the harder, nonviolent way, going against the streams of convenience, will produce the peace we want better than conveniently giving into rage and fighting back.  I believe we can be much more creative and solution oriented than we have been.  From that visionary creativity, real answers and cures can be obtained to solve intractable wars and seemingly never-ending conflicts.

In addition: There is power, lots of power and untapped solutions, in treating the mental illnesses and fear white supremacist possess, as if they truly matter and are not energies that must be annihilated because they are rogue.  That isn't working and hasn't worked... The complexities of such illness have to be dealt with real care, love, compassion and medicinally through a variety of applications.  Think of this problem like cancer. Any retributive action will only fuel the fire...haters feed on that and gain energy and stamina through the fight. We must starve the monster of all that nourishes it, so it will lose the ability to replicate itself.  We have to create an environment that is inhospitable to illness, like alkalinity which kills off cancerous cells, or removing certain nutrients that parasites commonly feed on in the gut.  I think this perspective could be really beneficial for lasting change.  Look at it from a macro-microcosmic perspective, also considering the bi-directionality of Self/Collective health in concert with healing  the Earth too. This problem has to be solved holistically, strategically and from a variety of many angles.  Imagine spokes connected to the center of a wheel.  Like that. Institutional changes like better gun control laws (where nazis aren't allowed to tote guns in the streets, for example, etc) and removing racist public symbols support creating an "alkaline" environment that "cancer" can't thrive in.

I don't mean treating humans as cancer or parasites literally, per se, I mean it figuratively. I mean adopting a perspective that deals with violence as a health issue and learning to apply various healing techniques, or rather innovative attitudes, which perpetuate new technology and methods for healing social conflicts and injustices as if they are terminal illnesses. I mean tapping into that level of creativity and alternate thinking.  Seeing it all with a new spin. Perhaps if we view our problems from different angles with different lenses, we can cultivate a wider understanding, and thus discover other solutions which before weren't anywhere on our radar.

I think it is key to remember that "they" are part of "We."  Always and forever.  We are One.  We have to get there (a better world, whatever you want to call it) together or else we won't get there.  Haters, the Other, and all....  This is also key, especially when using the bodily health and wellness perspective I've described.  All parts of the body are connected and must be understood and approached holistically. Each system functions in concert.  They are not separate.  For example, inflammation in the body had to be decreased for example through diet, exercise, medicine and removing causal factors which induce inflammation, in order to heal the gut--which is connected to brain health--which is connected to mental clarity and emotional stability, which is connected to response-ability or reacting in rage, etc, etc, which perpetuates and perpetuates....  Patterns and feedback loops are what we're dealing with.  An individual body is to a collective body is to the Earth body.  We also have to heal the Earth to heal the human collective as well as a single human.  White supremacy can't be healed until we also address how it manifests in ways that are also destructive to the Earth.  It's a really big job, but if we learn to view our problems and illnesses differently, I believe there is hope for new outcomes.

Finally, reparations are definitely called for to create balance and remove causal factors which induce inflammation, as well as to create an environment and conditions ripe for renewed health and longevity. 


Friday, August 25, 2017

Girls Inc.

I got the facilitator job at Girls Incorporated!  I start Monday morning!  Ow-ow-ow-oooooooo!!!!! Ow-ooooo!  Hey girl!!!

Hah! And that's after walking out on a job where I wasn't treated with the respect I deserve and getting a call back to interview for another position at Santa Fe Mountain Center!!!  All in one day.

I'm soooooo grateful for the positive responses and wonderful opportunities to serve and grow professionally.  Exciting!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A


Brave Girl!!!

I feel so brave!  Today I walked out on my job.  In three weeks the boss made three mistakes on my pay and tips and deals with it in the lackadaisical, aloof manner when I bring it to her attention.  I am so done with being abused...in any situation or relationship.  And I will not put up with unacceptable behavior and treatment.  One of the ultimate forms of abuse from an employer and worst ways to insult and devalue an employee is to not pay them properly and on time.  How ludicrous for her to hold all these expectations for how I am supposed to show up and perform at her business when she doesn't follow through with her end, and when it's a reoccurring problem.  Nope!  Not happening here.  Bye bye!  I have more important things to do with my precious time, energy and life.  


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Second Interview!!!

First interview with Girls Inc. went awesome today!!!  Second interview is tomorrow morning!!!

I think I got this!!  I'm soooooo happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

follow-up realizations worthy of notation:


  • After a few months of eating animal products, and that after being vegan for years, I really can't stomach it and ALL that entails anymore.  Plant-based is right for me, period. Glad I had the courage to listen to myself and to take a closer look at the historic and emotional roots and complexities of my values, motivations, beliefs and habits, and got that out of my system.  I'm glad to get back to a way of life that feels authentic and right for me. I prefer to be a steward and conservationist.
  • Tried drinking alcohol (wine) again back in the spring just to see if it was fun, that didn't last long. Wine is really beautiful, actually.  I like grapes a lot. Lots of people like drinking...I just don't. Maybe that will be different someday.  I'll stay open to it, but I actually love being sober! 
  • I tried the ketogenic high-fat nutrition plan...which was interesting and eating rich fatty foods are delicious for a while, but not for me as a staple.  I feel sluggish on them.  Research shows it's great for some people and if I find myself epileptic or with neurological/neurodegenerative issues, perhaps I'll revisit this. Until then, I need healthy carbohydrates and lots of colorful, beautiful fruit!  Fruit makes me happy and energized!  The keto thing was causing my hormones to feel imbalanced and my mood was shit much of the time.  Perhaps this last month was harder than it needed to be and I just wasn't properly nourished?  Glad I didn't do anything stupid.  I think too little carbs is not healthful for women, and maybe not for men either; that I'll never know first hand.  Plus, I like to run and run for miles, and that's pretty dang hard to do without enough carbs. 
  • I like periodic intermittent and prolonged fasting and feel the variety of benefits and clarity which come with it, so I'll continue with that as needed.

Finally, I got an interview with Girls Inc.!!!!! Ow-oooooo!!! Howl at the moon!!!!! Ow-Ow-Ow-oooo!!!  Si se puede! We can do it!!!

https://girlsincofsantafe.org/






Existential Trust Issues

Isn't it astonishing to (or rather, I feel astonished as I) realize that nearly any belief, argument, and agenda, whether congruent with or opposing another, can be backed by "evidence," "science," "research," "studies," and whatnot! I find such dialectics to be both exciting and aggravating, although I love how complex and mysterious EVERYTHING actually is. Keeping things simple is a great coping/living strategy, and I practice this in general, but nothing is really simple and most things are rarely what they seem and can be analyzed, reduced, extrapolated, etc. How does one sift through so much information and discover what is real, I mean, even just for one's self? A priori knowledge and direct experience must be the deciding factor, at least on an individual basis, but how much can that be trusted?!?!? Clearly, when we view the state of our human condition on individual and collective scales, with all of our different problems, a priori isn't the answer either. So what is? (I don't expect you to have the answers, although I'd love to know your thoughts.)

(sigh...)


Monday, August 21, 2017

Employment Seeking: Persevere!

Applying for several positions today, all of which I think I could excel at.  If I get a full-time job, especially if it's an hour drive to ABQ, I'll have to slow school down most likely.  That would be fine.  I can't wait tables anymore.  I am so unhappy in that work...and I'm too introverted and burnt out for that sort of hustling. I hate it!!! I hate waiting on people!!!  It kills my soul!  I'm educated and have real, awesome interpersonal, therapeutic, intuitive and creative skills to offer.  I WILL find a better job that suits me and I won't give up until I get it!  Once I finally have my MA I'll be in way better shape to get a job I want...like a counseling job with an international organization like the UN or another one.  Must...hold...on...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

'More human' human beings

"A movement begins when the oppressed begin seeing themselves as pioneers in creating new, more human relations and thus advancing the evolution of the human race.

Confident of their own humanity, movement builders are able to recognize the humanity in others, including their opponents, and therefore the potential within them for redemption.

The methods we use in our struggles are transforming ourselves as well as our opponents into 'more human' human beings."

Grace Lee Boggs


Friday, August 18, 2017

La Boheme: Let's Go Home

Dawning at birth

Real

Truth

Worth


Culminating, synergistic cooperation

Butterfly affect across the nation

Arise gentle wisdom

Turn our new Leaves of Grass



From seeds of compassion

Gestating and germinating

A peace enduring shall last



Alchemy, Hermes-Thoth, Rabindranath
Harmony in We

Curing collective Ennui and Plath

Universal a priori 
                                                         On the stage of Montparnasse

Image result for modigliani girl with the necktie



romanticism: my favorite coping mechanism and character shortcoming...
and I am incurable 




Image result for modigliani paul guillaume

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Aspen Vista

 Up at 5 amping up for a 12 mile hike!  So exciting!

Summer will be over soon so I have to make the best of my free time while I have it.




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Self care: For you, for me, for we

I know it isn't for everyone, but I love going to the gym. There are so many inspiring people there. I saw folks with major physical "ability" challenges and Elders practicing awesome self care. One Elder walked in with his walker, something that appeared to take a lot of effort in and of itself, and a with big smile on his face. I saw him lifting weights later. Wow! His energy empowered me to amp up my game and be so grateful to move, breathe, and feel my heart pound and blood pumping! LIFE!!! Being in a body within this sordid human condition and navigating various climates of unrest, violence and injustice is wrought with complexities and hardships...but being in a body, being a human being, is also so wonderful. I have to set time aside to be in gratitude and celebrate this opportunity so I don't die of rage and heartbreak. I know you know what I mean. Moving, stretching, breathing, walking in Nature, and doing other practices that help me to liberate and heal myself, is really about being more available for the Multiverse/God/Love/Source to move through and use me for the highest good. Self care, my friends!!! Self-mastery!!! Taking care of the mind, body, and spirit is SOOOOOO vitally important. Please be good to yourselves and let that goodness ripple out into the world in your own unique and powerful ways.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Croc Musings

Just found this personal response poem to a friend's crocodile drawing from theories of art therapy. I kind of like it.


toothy violence
your smiling weapons
creature of the soul's swamp
how surprised I was to learn you are also a helper spirit
carrying me, transforming me, killing parts of me that need to die
the death ritual skull rattles
laughing at and awakening me
I'm not so fearful, scary monster
you're my raft to unwavering safety within
what grace I've been offered through you,
the condensation of your breath, the snapping of your jaws
I am a twig amidst your wrath

humbled and grateful for being so low


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Interview!!!! I got it!!!

Got an interview for the Adventure Therapy Program!!!!!

https://santafemc.org/

PLEASE!!!!  PLEASE!!!!  I NEED THIS!!!  I WANT THIS!!!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Surprise!

So, I'm going about my day, have plans to workout and hike, and BAM!!!...
I get stepped on by a horse!  Plans cancelled.

My pinky-toe is fat and purple!  Ouch!!!!  Now I'm bored, in bed with an ice pack on my foot...dang it!!!

Fly (ex-racer) is really sweet but he is very naughty too sometimes.  He was testing boundaries and crowding my space and I wonder if he meant to step on me...he might have.  Horses are very agile and sensitive.  They know where there feet are going to land.  I think he was messing with me; not maliciously or else he could just kill me in a variety of ways of his choosing.  He was just being naughty and when working with enormous animals, that can get a girl hurt.

Fly, you shit!  And I should have had better boots on.  It's partly my fault.  I still love you, Fly, and I am grateful I get to work with the horses.  It's just part of the work.

Driving home from the barn, I thought about the little boy from the School for the Deaf who fell off his horse, and I watched it happen in slow motion from across the corral, and how he cried, not from being hurt, but from feeling scared at first and then because he was so moved by his classmates who cared so much about him, checked on him, and cheered him on.  Other kids who go to the center have been hurt in their interactions with the horses and they get back on and keep trying too. I'm going to be like them. Brave, little, tender warriors in a world where one can get thrown, stepped on and kicked around...and we just keep persevering.


On another note: I applied for a program coordinator position in the adventure therapy program at Santa Fe Mountain Center.  PLEASE!!!!!! PLEASE LET ME HAVE WHAT I WANT!!!   I can't stand being a waitress...I have so much more to offer.




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fasting, ketosis, and longevity...experimenting on myself

Good article/blog and there's plenty of tedious scholarly articles to further explain if you want to go there, which I encourage and do myself. 


AND building on the article, when one fasts (dry fasting (DF) is even quicker: 1 day of DF'ing is like about 2-3 days of water fasting and other than being thirsty, DF'ing is easier) the body's autophagy process/activating ketosis and vise versa works even better/cleans the system quicker because it's self-eating the stored junk proteins as well as ketones from stored fat, rather than the proteins from food eaten. And the body hydrates itself with metabolic water which is stored in fat, so as the body hydrates itself it also then burns that fat up! AND plenty of junk gets stored in the fat, as well as those junk proteins, so the cleaning really amps up! AND the excess fat can cause insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular issues, which can all affect hormone imbalances and cause other illnesses, as well as premature aging, so another reason why manipulated autophagy is great.

Gotta get used to the hunger and thirst, but as one builds tolerance, it's not so bad. Mind over matter. The brain is used to eating all of the time, but once the body goes into survival mode, some of that shuts down, and the body really isn't that hungry and can live on fat stores/junk proteins as this article discusses.  Ketones are appetite suppressants.  The body is amazing!!!

This is why I fast and when I eat, I eat keto. Major game changer--and I use to be a raw/vegan fruitarian and I'm glad I gave that up, as it wasn't working for me. There's a reason, many reasons in fact, why people and animals fast to heal. And when eating a ketogenic diet, one switches from one level of ketosis to even deeper, and therapeutic, level of ketosis when one fasts. (Fasting just means giving stuff up but not necessarily everything all at once. One can fast from sugar, alcohol, wheat, face book, TV, etc.) As far as fasting goes, all cultures do it.  Humans have been fasting for thousands of years, for forever, and clearly with very good reason which the body is so intelligently designed to do.

Beyond all of this, the self-mastery and peaked energy levels are so rewarding in and of themselves. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Longevity...c'est moi joie de vivre

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acel.12338/full

autophagy
https://greatist.com/live/autophagy-fasting-exercise

mTOR
https://selfhacked.com/blog/mtor-natural-mtor-inhibitors/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3331679/

AMP activator
https://selfhacked.com/blog/natural-ampk-activators/

longevity herbs
interstellar




side note: "putting out fire with gasoline...'' --David Bowie

line from Cat People...love the paradox, concept, and image here...even if it comes from a time in his career which he is least proud of.  I love all of his work! Was thinking about Iman today while listening to Bowie.  I assume she must feel absolutely destroyed living without him...  Can you imagine!!!  I wonder how she copes?  Does she listen to his music on repeat like the rest of us?  She must.  But that would soothe her and help her feel close to him, and rip her open all at the same time....gawd!  Sigh...love and prayers for Iman...her heart must be shattered into a million pieces.


Interstellar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQHto60cDFA

Getting closer and closer to how I want my life to look.  I'm not there yet, but I'm making good progress.  Will keep forging ahead and working smart and hard.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

...and the living is easy

Finally getting around to reading Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. I love summer reading that requires no highlighting and note taking. With the pressures of grades and deadlines off, it's so easy to absorb the details and then let them go without a care in the world. Seems fitting to follow it up with D.H. Lawrence and other delicious fiction which does nothing for my career. And how's about a nap in the gravity chair on the porch? All the while, Maggie is chasing rabbits in her sleep right next to me and busy bees swarm invasive, cascading trumpet flowers taking over the yard! Let the summer months pass slowly...I'm in no hurry to get back to business as usual.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sonic the Barrel Racer!!!!


Me and Sonic--this past winter



I got to work with Sonic today.  Sonic use to be a barrel racer back before he became a therapist.

I really love Sonic AND he can be super stubborn, pushy, noncompliant, and lazy when it comes to ground work.  Other than that, he's a sweetie!  I love him!  I see those less desirable behavioral qualities as opportunities for me to practice better, more assertive and clear directions.  I improved a lot since last week from working with Cisco.  And I have worked with Sonic before so I knew I had to step up my game in the leadership department in order to get him to move.

We did well but we did have to get his attention a couple times, being a little more assertive than I usually am.  Every week, I get challenged in this area.  Sometimes the horses think they don't have to listen to the volunteers because many of the volunteers have little experience with horses, so they get away with bossing the volunteers and learning bad habits.  So, they don't get to boss me but they do try! Haha!  Then they figure out that I'm not a pushover and after testing me and trying to walk all over me for a while, they start to obey me and then we begin to connect and have fun.  I never lose my patience with them either.  We just practice until we get it right.

Ashley is teaching me a lot about being assertive with the horses.  She's very kind and gentle with both horses and humans, but she is firm and gets what she wants from them and all of us...so she's showing me how to do that.  I really like that about her.  No question who the boss is!  She has taught me to use the whip in different, non-aggressive ways.  For example, I'll have difficulty getting Sonic to walk-on and Ashley steps in and shows me what to do and Sonic is a totally different horse.  I make a little popping noise with the whip in the air or whip the ground in front of him to stop him or make him back up to where he's beside me and not in front of me, if need be.

We never touch the horses in mean ways and the concept of natural horsemanship is that we will eventually not have to use the whip or even a halter at all once they learn to follow the leader as they're meant to.  Those stronger gestures and sounds with the whip simply spark their attention and encourage them to listen and follow directions.  They're the same as me making my voice louder, which doesn't work with horse.  My voice is louder and they hear me through clear and assertive body language.  It really makes a difference.  Quite remarkable!  Then they know that while we are absolutely a team working together, I am still the leader and I will lead them to safety at all times. They have to learn to let go, follow me, and learn to trust me.  It's a lot of work.

So, after ground work, I got to ride Sonic.  We worked on making his transitions between halting, walking and trotting more smooth.  His movements are pretty abrupt, so we want him to be more fluid so that when it comes to working with people with special needs, perhaps with balancing issues, he will be a safer ride and will follow directions immediately.

It was so much fun to ride him and trot around in the corral.  Sonic likes to pick up and go and that was a blast!  Some of the horses are slow and sluggish, but he just needs a little squeeze and he's ready to go.  I can't wait til I get to work up to cantering.  I love to go fast!  Riding felt so natural.  I wasn't scared or nervous at all and held decent form!

In general he listened to me pretty well and even though he wants to go fast, he does have good breaks.  When we're working on ground work and agility and he has to follow me around, stop, go, slow down, speed up, back up, turn in circles, etc, according to my body movements, he gets annoyed and bored and pretends that he's going to bite me, but he was much more content to have me ride him and pick up the speed!  You can take the horse out of the race but you can't take the racer out of the horse!  That was awesome! Hope I can take Sonic on a trail ride one of these days!  After our ride, I gave him cookies, hosed him down, and squeegeed him off!  Sonic loves this part of the day!

Tomorrow and next week I'll volunteer with some of the individual clients.  I'm looking forward to that, as I haven't had time to work with any of them since school let out.  Today, the sweetest young man who has different abilities categorized somewhere on the autism spectrum had his lesson before we exercised all the horses.  What an awesome rider!  He's 23 and began riding lessons in 2011, so he is super comfortable and very skilled.  He's small like a jockey too and his posting was great.  I really enjoyed watching him ride and his smile spanned from ear to ear!!!  After his lesson, he was so excited and he just walked around hugging, patting, and high-fiving everyone...over and over...and rubbing his mom's head and hugging her and smiling and soaking in all the compliments!!!  What an awesome guy!!!

Seeing the riders with the horses is such a joy!  It's so healing and empowering...equine therapy is magical!  Folks get to connect with these incredible creatures and feel confident and proud of themselves!!! We work with kids from the youth shelter too and they blossom so much from working with the horses.  Wednesdays they are on barn duty and Fridays they get to ride! And I'm transporting two young women who are human trafficking victims from their safe-house to the barn and they are our new interns, which is so cool for them.  The horses provide safe (usually) healing space for us all!!!  We have a wonderful community.  SOOOOOOO awesome!

I just love this work!!!



  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Our Nature (by moi)



join the discourse, love's dialogue never ends
bring all of the voices in your head, of course...
dance with the surprises and build tolerance for the explosions
swim in the continuum of reality's fluid, lucid, edge
remain forever 'til suffering ends
keep coming back, return to your breath over and over and over
bring every aspect, every reflection, of yourSelf...
your wholeness is wanted here, it's okay to cry here
we can allow our roots to intertwine, we can reside in this cave, but will always live in the world
we are safe, even amidst all the suffering, our Multiverse is safe
bring your valiance and be brave, sweet soul, my gentle lion-heart
blossom tenderly, open, yield, flex and receive
feel it all, see it all, meet it all
and when you ache for mercy, when you think you might die from feeling...
unbind, stretch, and expand and watch all of the fear and brokenness fall away, like the shedding of old skin
the illusion of control is as real as we make it, for the love, let it go...
let go of the illusion of control for you, for me, for we
and when your tender heart has shattered into a million ecstatic pieces, remember that you are more than the sum of all of your parts
and when you think feeling, seeing, meeting all the pain and need in the world will kill you...smile, Beloved Friend
you are not alone
I will remain with you forever
I love you keep going
I love you keep going
I love you keep going
I love you keep going
I love you keep going
I love you keep going
I love you keep going
join the discourse, love's dialogue never ends
bring all of the voices in your head, of course...
dance with the surprises and build tolerance for the explosions
swim in the continuum of reality's fluid, lucid, edge
remain forever 'til suffering ends
keep coming back, return to your breath over and over and over
bring every aspect, every reflection, of yourSelf...
your wholeness is wanted here, it's okay to cry here
we can allow our roots to intertwine, we can reside in this cave, but will always live in the world
we are safe, even amidst all the suffering, our Multiverse is safe
bring your valiance and be brave, sweet soul, my gentle lion-heart
blossom tenderly, open, yield, flex and receive
feel it all, see it all, meet it all
and when your tender heart has shattered into a million ecstatic pieces, remember that you are more than the sum of all of your parts
and when you ache for mercy, when you think you might die from feeling...
unbind, stretch, and expand and watch all of the fear and brokenness fall away, like the shedding of old skin
the illusion of control is as real as we make it, for the love, let it go...
let go of the illusion of control for you, for me, for we
and when you think feeling, seeing, meeting all the pain and need in the world will kill you...smile, Beloved Friend
you are not alone

I will remain with you forever


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cisco Kid Was a Friend of Mine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f06QZCVUHg

I knew this summer would be fabulous and it is so far!  Volunteering at NMCTR is one of my favorite things to do.  I go every Thursday from 9-12'ish to exercise the horses.  I love it!!!! The director, Ashley, is wonderful and decided to add three days each week dedicated to horse physical and mental health and the horses have just blossomed in a few weeks!!! One horse, Kodi, follows the leader perfectly without a halter now! Amazing to see and he was a wild mustang before who had been abducted from his mom in the wild and then abused be the owners.  Now he is so safe and happy and stimulated!

I worked with Cisco today and am a believer in the natural horsemanship strategies more than ever! We started implementing them about a month ago.  As a result, the horses are growing and learning so much and are appropriately stimulated.  They had become very stoic and tired.  I'm learning and growing leaps and bounds too and feel a new excitement as well!!!

So, I use to be pretty intimidated, afraid even at times, of Cisco because he was getting really grouchy and pissed off.  His body language was unhappy and he would snip and bite and lay his ears down and get really mad at us.  He was not into it at all anymore.  Ashley put him on a long break and he is doing so much better now.  I guess he was just tired.  These healing horses put up with a lot and give a lot too.  They get compassion fatigue just like other social workers.

Today is a new day though!  Cisco is fresh and rested, has a great attitude, and is ready to get back to work.  He's still a bit pushy though.  Ashley taught me a lot about how to handle him.  Learning how to work with them is very humbling and is teaching me a lot about myself and about ways I need to work on how I communicate and present myself.  It's amazing how much I'm learning about subtle forms of communication, being really clear about what I want the horse to do and leading them to do it, boundaries, and leading them so they know they can trust me and that I will lead them to safety at all times.

Wow...that's a lot of letting go and trusting I am asking of him!  It's a huge responsibility!  We made great progress today.  We never use to use whips before, and we never whip them per se or harm them in anyway, but we use it as a tool to help the horses learn to follow us as the heard leaders and to stop and go using very light taps and gestures so they can learn boundaries.  Ultimately, they are much happier once these structures are set up because we are able to work as a team and really connect.

Oh, when the connection happens between me and the horse, today with Cisco, it's the best feeling ever! He loved it too!  He really came to trust me and gave me soft nosey snuggles, licked his lips, and softened his gaze when we took breaks and when I praised him and thanked him.  They love to be talked to and respected.  It just inspires me so much how these horses want to connect and serve.  But they need to be seen and heard just like anyone else or they get pissed off just like anyone else.  Our natural horsemanship strategies help us communicate with, and listen to the voices/communication styles of the horse on their level, and it works amazingly well, not surprisingly.  Cisco was sooooo happy today!

I got a wake up call about how vague I can be with my communication.  I noticed a couple times when Cisco didn't do what I thought I wanted him to do because I wasn't even entirely clear in my own head and then didn't ask him in the right way.  How many times have I done that in my life in different relationships and situations!  I can think of so many times with different folks where we're just floundering around, they don't know what to do, I don't know what to do...do we stop, go, slow down, speed up...just a cluster-fuck of confusion.  I also am learning to be more assertive and to be a leader.  I know I'm capable of being a good leader and it takes practice.  The horses need that from me and so do the riders who go there for therapy.  They need me to be in charge in a firm and loving way.  They need me to practice good, strong boundaries so that they can feel cared for and safe.  Same goes with future clients once I'm finally a licensed therapist.  This point was really clarified for me today.  Very grateful for that!

Clearly my issues with boundaries, communication, and being assertive stem from my formative years and family with abuse, really unhealthy and non-existant boundaries, and terrible communication, but today I get to nip that and practice new tools, skills, and behavior.  Those days are over and I'm the leader now.  I also can relate to the defiance of the horses, if it can be called such, as I was that teen and young adult who was going to do whatever I wanted.  I know I learned such tendencies because I had trust issues, felt alone and like I had to lead myself, yet had no clue what to do.  Wow...I feel so much compassion for me, the horses, and the youth who come to work with the horses.  Negotiating these complexities and challenges take more skill than most of us are taught.  Feels awesome to put one foot in front of the other as I forge into my new paradigm!  Working with the horses is teaching me how to be a better human.

I just love the horses soooooo much and love the person I'm becoming from this opportunity to spend so much time working with them.  I'm not even scared of cleaning their hooves or walking behind them anymore.  Every week I feel more and more comfortable and then they let me in more as a result.  I even rode for the first time last week.  I haven't been on a horse since I was a teen. Very empowering and Maggie tested me like crazy!  :) I get to ride next Thursday too!!! Yay!!! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Archetypal Psychology: Final Paper

Archetypes: Language of the Self

Archetypes

Warning: violent and graphic images and language are in this paper.

For the sake of staying on my tender-warrior-healing-journey, I choose to utilize this assignment space (and your compassionate ability to hold and witness my transformation…so, thank you…) to further explore the dark realms of my unconscious and the collective unconscious.  My goal with this paper is to stay fully engaged and submerged in the dark, deep waters of Self.  This quarter and this class has given me the strength to validate and trust myself.  I know that it is my job to be bold and brave, to heal, and to allow my light to shine.  I also know I cannot let my light shine without also allowing The Shadow to live and breathe too.  As I heal, I explore realms in heaven, hell, and levels in between.  I embark on these journeys while awake, in dream states, and in my art/creative processes.  Learning about how to collaborate with archetypes has given me new tools to explore the self-reflexive, micro/macrocosmic, negative strange loop field-effects (Pearce; 2012), which are necessary angels (McNiff) or angles of perception, which help me heal and learn to serve others. 
This path I am on is the path or tenderness and fearlessness.  When I say fearlessness, that does not mean I am not ever frightened.  It means, that I know that the only way through, is through.  Like one saying goes, and I don’t remember who said it, while on your journey through hell, don’t stop there, keep going.  Maybe no one said that…maybe I’m the author of that quote.  I don’t know?  And so, despite that I have at times felt isolated, desperately alone, and afraid, I also know that the answers and healing are in the pain.  For too long I tried to wall-off through maladaptive attempts to comfort myself and numb-out my pain, but those attempts only prolonged my problems and self-harm.  Sometimes boundaries are permeable and I do not know if my pain is all mine or if it’s a pain from the collective as well, as if I am experiencing my, as well as the collective’s dark night of the soul.  That feels right.  All I know is that the multiplicities, complexities, nuances, and relentless nature of this dark night is a motherfucker!  Good thing I am a warrior because I need all the courage and energy I can muster to survive the human condition and thrive in this thing called life. 
Anyway, this paper is a living document.  This paper is the next mandala in a sense and it is a further exploration of mandalas rendered in this class, as they continue to speak to and inform me.  I haven’t time or energy to waste on simply hashing out a paper that I don’t care about, so that my work is complete and I can get my grade.  I see that my work will likely never be complete.  There is no end and so onward I travel.  This is not simply a final paper regurgitating information I have read or picked up, although it is a non-linear paper about my profound process as a brave and willing learner trying on the garbs of the wounded healer and acting as if.  Finally, it is my intention to use this paper to forge new terrain on my mission to decode and learn the mysterious language and symbology of my being, my dreams and inner landscapes, and my unconscious, and to die however many times I must die in order to be reborn into conscious awareness and personal enlightenment.
Here we go, down the rabbit hole.
Why is that after an amazing day, yesterday, consisting of sunshine, health and wellness practices, friends and community, our archetypal class’s wonderful final presentations, healing transformation, and me setting down and clarifying my goals for summer break, did I have one of the most violent, horrifying dreams I have ever had?  Perhaps it’s a timing thing?  In my presentation, and in much of my work this quarter, I have explored the concept of healing occurring in the perfect time frame, of experiencing my Soul guiding me toward wholeness, of sensing when conditions are ripe, and of trusting that my Soul does not force me to deal with more than I can handle as I integrate dissociated parts of either myself. My Soul also guides me to integrate the dissociated, bi-directional parts of Self reflected to me from society.  This concept is extremely pertinent and real for me as I do not experience all the degrees of separation I have been conditioned to adhere to.  I believe such bi-directionality, the strange loops Pearce discusses, influences aspects of my nightmare as well as unearths pain I need to feel and process more fully.
My nightmare: it was dark; there were a few evil men and they cut open several children’s’ anuses and sexual organs and proceeded to rape them.  There was a lot of blood.  I heard the children screaming and wailing and saw their eyes and faces in anguish as it took place.  After the rape, one of the men committed suicide with what looked like an old-style shaving razor.  I did nothing to stop this from happening.  I watched in horror then woke in terror.
I woke from this horror, lying in bed in shock; the images swirling and sounds reverberating in my head.  My dog Maggie came into my room, such great timing for my little love to come to me, and needed to be let outside.  I hoped that getting out of bed, walking, and tending to mundane waking-life stuff would shake the nightmare off of me, but it’s one that is here to stay…and I trust for good reasons.  The more I write about it and sit with it, the less identify with it and the less I feel traumatized by it.
So, what is this all about?  How can I decode this schema?  What is my unconscious or the collective unconscious trying to tell me?  What does this mean for me, about my life, about the world, perhaps?  Clearly, after all the healing work I have done, the strengthening and scaffolding occurring in my lifelong learning, has brought me to a place of readiness and stability to deal with whatever is unfolding.  Clearly, I am ready to dive deeper into the abyss and catch the big fish, as Lynch discusses.  While I travel into the unknown, what I know is that I am healthy and have the tools to deal with this.  I’ve walked through different versions of hell and confronted demons before and I can and will do it again if need be.
Mandalas
This jarring nightmare, I believe, is a wake-up call.  I trust my dreams like I trust my art and creative processes.  I know, with a Gno, that my intuition is connected to the sentient and intelligent multiverse, and that important information is unearthing.  While this nightmare was horrific, it is no shock.  The images have so much heartbreaking meaning, represented by sexual assault, which is one of the worst acts of violence and theft that can be done.  The rape gives voice to negligence, abuse and innocence lost, in me, done to me, done by me, done to others and to the Earth, as I and many often stand by watching it all happen in complete shock. 
From another perspective, while I am still questioning what to do with it, and while it hurts so much, the astral event comes as no surprise.  I have been observing my excavation process from the view of The Third, so as the layers peel back, rendered in my mandalas and art-making, I have become ready to deal with another image in my head that this nightmare is linked to.  An image which came about a year ago or so.  It is of a family member handling my baby/toddler self inappropriately and sexually.    
I do not know if this image is a real memory, or is like my dream, a schematic attempt to give expression to the abuse I endured during the first ten years of my life which were in ways just as bad as sexual assault. They caused some of the same repercussions and maladaptive behaviors in my life that often occur in the lives of victims of sexual violence.  I do not have any declarative memories of being violated as a child, not sexually anyway, so I hope that means that sort of abuse never happened.  Sometimes, some people do not get to know the full truth about the harms they have experienced and they must live with the wondering.  I do know that I do not have to know the details of the harms which have happened, to heal and to author a story of resilience and thriving. That said, victimization, remembering, putting the pieces together, and surviving trauma or any kind, are scary waters to navigate.  I trust I will be shown where to go and what to do next.  It will be interesting to see what truths and directions my dreams and other aspects of my knowing point me toward.  I trust that as I travel through this darkness, I am not alone; there is guiding light and it is in me.  I will continue to use the dialectic, scaffolding, and culminating processes of making mandalas as I awaken, learn, and heal. 
Meditation, Shamanism, and Soul Retrieval
Suddenly, as I write this paper, I image Humpty Dumpty, the archetypal figure who was shattered and could never be put back together.  I feel heartened to know, with a Gno, that Humpty’s fate will never be mine…that I am the Great I Am, that I am whole, and I am putting the pieces of my Self and my life back together.  Everything that has happened increases my sense of purpose, ability to serve others, and personal power.  Each of the guided meditations caused me to travel my inner landscapes.  I can see them all in my mind so vividly still and I am sure I will never forget the details of such regression and progression.  The meditations have increased my awareness of the shamanic path and of my, and Spirit’s, ability to heal me by traveling into myself; into my sorrow, anger, anguish, and trauma; into my body’s wisdom; into my love; and into the unknown. 
As I have shared in class and in my final presentation, as well as have documented in several mandalas, I am now quite clear that I inadvertently experienced Soul Retrieval, thanks to you, Heather, and to the art-making and meditations.  Despite all the healing work I have done over the years, I did not have the language to define my experiences quite appropriately.  Gradually, I am developing that language now through this MA program and study of psychology.  For example, I had not realized just how dissociated many parts of me have been because of not being protected and valued as I deserved to be when I was a child and then how that neglect influenced much of my unskillful adult behaviors.  I knew I felt lost, hurting, and isolated with a bird’s eye view at times, but I did not understand these experiences as forms of dissociation.  In a way, certain parts of me, before they even had a chance to develop into the me they maybe could have been, were stolen and scattered to the winds through abuses I endured.  
This quarter, I have experienced a miraculous 52-card pick-up on a very unexpected and soulful level.  During meditation, class discussion, and further contemplation on my own, I was shown that birds, for many years, have been images and medicine carriers that appeared in my art work and music as angels coming to help me gather the pieces of myself so I could be put back together.  In the sacred heart meditation, I heard falcons and saw them hovering and communicating with one another.  Then in Sardello’s heart meditation, archetypes such as The Magician, The Lovers, and The Alchemist appeared and The Alchemist was also a falconer sending his falcons out to chase down my dissociated parts and to bring them home into my heart.  I know that I am and embody all three archetypes.  They are proof of the human spirit doing what it does best, living.
I have felt so much more stable and integrated since that experience.  All three archetypes showed up as necessary angels helping me to reign in and unify all the parts of myself.  The outcome is that I am living my personal fairy-tale, which is the divine, alchemical marriage I have longed for since girl-hood.  It’s not about meeting my prince and him saving me.  God, I love to hate that story…but I wanted it and hoped it was my solution.  Throughout my whole life, I have looked to someone else to provide this sense of unity, love, and belonging for me, but through Soul Retrieval, and the help of my bird and archetypal healers, I can provide that for myself.  I feel confident that this union in me will likely manifest in other areas of my life too, and I feel excited about those possibilities.
On another note, another inner journey, the inner teacher/inner curriculum meditation, caused me to travel into The White and into death/deathlessness.  This journey tool place on a day of intense grief I had tapped into in a therapy session.  In this experience, I felt the sadness in my heart, and the organ itself so palpably, as I journeyed through the facades of Petra, into emerald and ruby studded caves, and soared through cosmic dimensions, as well as all the chakra colors.  I experienced premonitions of my own death caused by heart failure and just felt a lot of anxiety in my body, until I stepped into The White which seemed to be complete nothingness.  I stood in The White and looked around and felt a little sad that nothing was there.  I asked Ray if he was there and he was not.  There was only white all around. 
Interestingly, I am just now connecting that to the heart attack Ray experienced, which was induced by vomiting blood and seizuring.  Once the heart attack occurred he was without oxygen for too long, which caused severe brain damage, which took him into a coma, and eventually caused his body to shut down.  The doctors said all his movements, thus signs of life, were involuntary reflexes, but I know he was present a few times and knew I was with him, because he responded to me during important conversations we had.  Ray and I had a very special connection and I believe some of the trauma I have felt stuck in my body is connected to our separation and to traumas he experienced in his dying process.  During his final days, he was embraced by so much love and healing.  It was both beautiful and horrifying.  When he died he was set free, but I, until recently, have not allowed myself to be set free. 
Because I was unable to attend Ray’s funeral, I was called to design a funeral for myself, so I could move through some of that trauma.  While this experience was different, and involved no birds in my art or meditations, Baby Bird had been an archetype of sweetness in our marriage, and meant a lot to both Ray and me.  We named my bicycle Baby Bird and she showed up sweetly in jokes and many parts of our relationship.  We held her in our hand and tried so hard not to crush her.  Even though we didn’t make it, I think she learned to fly anyway.  I believe Baby Bird’s essence showed up to help Ray’s spirit soar off into the cosmos and is also staying with me, as a harbinger of renewal, helping me gather parts of me that have felt so hurt and scattered during these years of loss and grieving.
Light Figure
Archetypal Psychology in conjunction with Archetypal Psychology have paired miraculously well.  I feel my life and Soul healing as I have engaged in some deep work this quarter and couldn’t be more grateful that both classes occurred at the same time to support my scaffolding process.  The journey began with the past-life regression/journey into the unconscious activity in Consciousness.  In that process, I ventured into a lush forest and experienced myself as a centaur, my top half was a naked woman and bottom half, a horse’s body.  I was so surprised because I noticed while looking down at what should have been me feet and seeing hooves instead.  Through observing the witness aspect of myself experience my consternation in that process, I realized I was not contriving a story and took it very seriously.  It wasn’t a bullshit fantasy I was making up as I went.  I then saw a unicorn drinking water and it looked at me!   Later, I traveled deep into a cave and found a little girl sitting inside by herself.  She was not afraid or sad, she just sat there in her baby-doll dress and she held a golden lasso.  It seemed like she was waiting for me.  She mounted onto my back and we left the forest and entered a vast desert and headed toward the Great Pyramids which were in plain view.  This journey is the first of many saga-like adventures into my psyche I embarked on and the rest are just as vivid and epic. 
The Light Figure and collaborating with David Bowie has brought so much support to me as well.  This partnership surprisingly, magically, and cohesively enhanced the work I did in archetypal class.  Bowie was a master of archetypes himself as he cultivated and explored theatrical personas and stage characters which he fully and unabashedly embodied.  Bowie used these characters to express parts, conscious and unconscious, of himself and to observe and reflect on society and the human condition.  He often explained in interviews that fragility of identity is something to be sought rather than feared and avoided; that it is healthy to change and to flow with life, releasing false illusions of self and dancing with the unknown.  Bowie inspired me so much that his presence and our collaboration allowed me to open psychically and I had a Eureka! experience (Laski; in Pearce; 2012).  One day, from out of the blue, as my Eureka! experienced happen, I saw a vision for my final presentation, which would be a funeral for Ray and our marriage, in perfect detail.  I embodied Bowie’s audacious spirit and creativity, channeled and connected to Ray as best as I could, and because of this sacred psychodramatic space and event, I was able to deeply mourn my losses in a productive and useful ways.  I also experienced degrees of closure while being held and witnessed by my peers.  That act has allowed me the somatic experience of journeying into the trauma and grief of losing Ray, of giving my pain opportunities for expression, and of moving some of the stuck trauma out of my heart-mind-body.  Like Bowie, by using theatrics and slipping into a character, I have accessed profound creativity and fortitude by inducing, through a death ritual, a birth and shift allowing me to let go of an old identity so I may reinvent a new Self.        
Character, Destiny, and Learning
            These experiences: mandala-making; meditation and journeys into the realms of the unconscious; dreams and nightmares; deaths and births; collaboration with angels, spirit guides, and healing archetypes; and confrontation of demons, have coalesced as a dialectic, Golden Triangle of promise and healing.  In addition, I have felt so empowered by Rilke’s words regarding living in the questions so that perhaps one day, I may live into the answers.  The culmination of all this deep, intentional work is doing just that for me.  I feel I am living into the answers, into my unique and beautiful answers, yet the journey also feels like it has just begun, which produces more questions and mysteries to lean into.  My guess is that such is life.  Surrendering into and accepting uncertainty is the hero’s and the tender warrior’s path of the heart and that is my journey.   

            At this point in graduate school, I feel especially motivated to use these powerful experiences and realizations to actualize myself as the change I wish to see in the world, via my work as an art therapist, advocate, and educator.  My projects, focus of study, and personal healing have shown me how called I feel to use the arts, which include visual, musical and performative, as well as somatic styles of therapy, which include spontaneous and expressive movement, dance and yoga, in my practice.  Having traveled my own path of healing and delving into my own depths and transformation feels affirming and I feel I can support and walk with others as they bravely delve into and heal themselves.  This is a great honor and responsibility that I look forward to and take very seriously.  As hard as it can be for me to stay positive or remain hopeful in a world and human condition with as many problems and as much pain as ours, I will, however, continue to place my faith in good works and in endeavors which heal the planet, one gorgeous human at a time.  And let it begin with me.